Don't get me wrong — HBO's Last Week Tonight host John Oliver wants you to pay attention to Trump. After all, he is the president of the United States, and what he says matters hugely. Oliver himself is one of Trump's harshest, most analytical critics. However, during his Feb. 19 segment, Oliver said that he wishes America would stop allowing Trump to dominate the news cycle all the time, because some of what the nation's own president says is either nonsense or simply inconsequential. And let's face it — there are other news stories out there that have nothing to do with Trump but are, lo and behold, worth your attention.
Of course, Oliver was referring to news outlet's coverage of what Trump said about Sweden on Saturday evening during a rally in Florida while defending his now-blocked travel ban. In fact, nothing out of the ordinary, let alone anything having to do with immigration and violence, happened in Sweden that night. Instead, Trump claimed in a tweet that he was referencing a Fox News interview between Tucker Carlson and filmmaker Ami Horowitz who has tried correlating increased incidents of violence with an influx of refugees in Sweden.
But while Trump was making vague statements that couldn't be backed up by facts, other newsworthy things were happening too, Oliver explained.
Trump dominates the news cycle the way a fart dominates the interior of a Volkswagen Beetle. There is simply no escape from him. Case in point, last night, Trump held a pointless rally in Florida which got road block coverage across cable news. ... So here is where we're at right now: Trump can dominate the news by merely referencing something that didn't happen in Sweden, and that is a real shame, because this week has seen a great deal of fascinating stories go under-covered.
And you know Oliver well enough to suspect he wouldn't leave you hanging. He went on to list a number of attention-grabbing stories you should be reading: the mind-boggling way Kim Jong Un's half-brother was allegedly poisoned; a Florida man's plot to bomb Target stores up and down the East Coast so that he could buy the store's stock for a cheaper price; and British Prime Minister Theresa May's unreal grimace while watching children build Legos.
If anything, Oliver's spiel on Trump's constant news takeover should remind Americans to take a step back — if for no other reason than their own well-being — and focus on other news of the day once in a while. That's not to say that Americans shouldn't hold Trump accountable for what he says and remain informed — they absolutely should do both of those things. But it's also important to keep in mind that while Trump is talking about things that didn't happen, the world continues to spin and other consequential events are happening.
Images: HBO's Last Week Tonight with John Oliver